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Andrew has an African adventure

Andrew Bottomer, bottom left, with some of those involved in the cricket.
Andrew Bottomer, bottom left, with some of those involved in the cricket.

A PE teacher has returned from a trip to Africa, where he worked with underprivileged communities to help develop primary-school sports.

Andrew Bottomer, from Alnwick, recently travelled to Chitipa, in Malawi, to share his expertise in football and cricket.

Nyabinghe FC in the red of South Edinburgh and Santos FC in the black/white of Alnwick Town played a friendly game.

Nyabinghe FC in the red of South Edinburgh and Santos FC in the black/white of Alnwick Town played a friendly game.

His visit built on work that he has done in the area in previous years and he thanked the Northumberland community for donating equipment to the cause.

He said: “Thank you to all those people and organisations who helped me make my trip a big success.

“I learn so much myself every visit and it has been heartwarming that the Northumberland community has supported me.

“Chitipa doesn’t have much materially, but the people have big hearts and smiles and play sport with so much passion, fun and determination.

Football action.

Football action.

“I will keep supporting them. My kids are lucky enough to play sport and I believe all kids should have this right.”

During his trip, Andrew helped to deliver a soft-ball cricket coaching course in the zone of Kawale. Twenty-six teachers attended and the sessions involved warm-ups and team games.

These trained teachers then organised a six-team U13 mixed soft-ball pairs cricket festival, which 75 children attended.

In a further boost and using funds from The Friends of Malawi Association (FOMA), a cricket cage with a net (donated by Durant Cricket UK) was constructed and officially opened.

It is now fully operational and it is the first cricket cage and net in northern Malawi.

The Chitipa Cricket Union contributed 20 per cent of the cost through funding from the Malawi Cricket Union.

Five soft-ball kit bags have been gifted, with one going to the Chitipa District Sports Office, while the other four were distributed to clusters of schools in Kawale Zone to help with continued training and festivals.

Two full hardball junior cricket kit bags – with donations from The Malawi Cricket Union, Alnwick Cricket Club, Rock CC and The Lord’s Taverners – were also donated. Others to donate included ECB Northumberland, Active Northumberland and Alnwick Tennis Club.

In terms of football, Andrew managed to secure donations of kits and boots from Edinburgh South Community FC, Alnwick Juniors FC and Felton Juniors FC, while a FOMA grant went towards two sets of mini goals.

An U12 eight-a-side football festival involving 12 primary schools was held. It was the first time that an event like this has been staged.

A friendly match between Nyabinghe FC and Santos FC featured players in the donated kits from Alnwick Juniors and Edinburgh South FC.